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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Top 5 of 2013

IF you aren't already a follower of PADI on Facebook, you may not have seen their top 5 shots of 2013 which have netted 50,000 likes between them. Well worth checking out to see some of your most like phots, including one of the Kittiwake by some tall, Scottish, hairy person. Me!

Link: HERE

"What does become apparent looking back over the year is that certain photo subjects really appeal to you; Turtles, Octopuses, Wrecks and Fresh water shots have all done really well and also a large number of black and white photos have done really well.    In this gallery I have selected 5 of your favourites from the year which between them have notched up close to 50,000 likes."

Monday, 16 December 2013

Hey brother, pour the wine

A blustery day on the high seas couldn't dampen the enthusiasm for jumping in the water today with an 11 knot Easterly wind, a strong Northerly current and limited viz doing it's best to ruin the diving. But once we had battered our way through to calmer water on the main wall, all was right and well.

Spectacular shoals of fusiliers and trigger fish were wafting back and forth like a giant fans in the wind as well as regular visits from barracudas on their way to wherever it is that barracudas go to at weekends.


We made a sweep to the left and investigated some of the tighter cuts to see what could be seen and were rewarded by a hoard of angel fish that were mooching around not to mention some fantastic rope and barrel sponge formations that proved to be very photogenic indeed.


We hopped out on shore for a bit to let the sun slide lower over the horizon and also to allow the little stuff a chance to make it's way out onto the hard pan and get settled before we got back in to begin our hunt.


The bristleworms were out in force this evening, scuttling out in the open as well as getting onto and into everything they could find. It's like watching a miniature loo brush doing some sort of twisted mating ritual, lots of fun to be had.


I was particularly pleased to find an absolutely tiny grape-cluster nudibranch hidden away on a single strand hydroid, a very lucky find as blink and you would miss it. One of my favourite nudibranchs to photograph so far this year.


Not to be out done for attention, the crustacean contingent made a strong showing this evening with some fine examples of mud crabs, sanddollar pea crabs and star eyed hermit crabs.




Of course as the old adage goes the best is always saved till last and just before we got out, I had the good fortune to spend some time with this little fellow which put the icing on the cake for me.



Sunday, 15 December 2013

Waterloo Sunset

Guess who's in the newspapers again? This time it's a nice little shot of the the sunset over Seven Mile Beach. This is why we moved to a small Caribbean island.



Monday, 9 December 2013

Little secrets

We decided to do a double macro dive today which proved rewarding and frustrating in equal measures as not only where there some fantastic small critters to shoot but there were some big ones making an appearance as well which is not ideal when you're on a macro lens. A lot of surge and and very lumpy conditions didn't make things any easier but a dive is a dive is a dive.


We were diving up at our old stopping grounds of Lighthouse Point today, and just like Black Carr, theres never a bad dive at Lighthouse. We headed off South down the miniwall and went with the slight Northerly current.

There must have been a moray explosion in the water over the last couple of weeks because there were loads of them all over the place, both free swimming and in holes. It was like watching a plate of spaghetti going mad.


We had fly-bys of turtles and rays off in the blue but nothing that could be captured on the lens I was shooting with today. A good selection of crabs around on the hard pan and hiding amongst the corals including this little pea crab doing it's best to look invisible.


There were a lot of barracudas hanging out in the shallows and at cleaning stations, this big bruiser was more than happy to let me get up close and personal before disappearing off into the blue.


We had a good long scour along the hard pan and found some lovely little rough head blennies. The second one of which was trying to eat a piece of fishing line nearly as big as itself. Obviously never had any breakfast this morning.



Plenty of filefish, pipefish and needlenose puffer fish were hiding out amongst the sponges and hydroids, apparently not fans of the worsening conditions.


But this didn't seem to bother the juvenile orange sided gobies sitting out on the coral waiting for their turn under the camera lens.......



And one of the best parts of the morning? A po boy wrap with extra chili and a vanilla protein shake at the end of the dive, fresh out the kitchen from Chef Jen. Nice.

Om-nom-nom-nom-nom-nom

Monday, 2 December 2013

Dreamweaver

Yes indeed, as REO Speedwagon once sang "Ooh dream weaver, I believe you can get me through the night,Ooh dream weaver,I believe we can reach the morning light".

And with those immortal lyrics firmly imbedded in your brain, that makes a nice segue into the subject of this weeks photograph of the week, taken at Dreamweaver on the North Side (see how smooth that transition was?). Yet another snapshot makes it into the local rag.

Yes indeed, if you haven't picked up the local papers this week, rush out and get your copy to see the magnificence that is diving on the North Side of the island.

Or just enjoy it online if you're feeling particularly lazy..........



Friday, 29 November 2013

Robot Sea Turtles

Soon we won't need any living creatures in the sea, it'll all be robots :-D


"Some shipwrecks are too costly or dangerous for humans to explore, but many underwater robots are too disruptive and unwieldy to serve as substitutes. The Tallinn Institute of Technology's new U-CAT mapping robot solves that dilemma by imitating one of the ocean's more graceful creatures: the sea turtle. The small machine uses flippers to get around instead of propellers, preventing it from kicking up silt (which would obscure its camera) and letting it turn on a dime." 

Link: HERE

video



Monday, 25 November 2013

Break on through to the other side

You know the day destroys the night, night divides the day, which was fitting really as we set off late afternoon to get some quality time in on the main wall for the first dive and then get in for a second dive for form more fun in the dark.

The viz wasn't at it's best today with 20 metres or so and a strong ENE making the surface a little lumpy however the main wall did supply us with large shoals of triggerfish, angelfish, groupers and not to mention our highly trained pet snappers came out to be with us as well. They always know when we're about.......


There were some late afternoon foragers in the shape of lionfish not to mention a parade of jacks darting by. Obviously they had somewhere else they would rather be.......


The night dive was superb as always but the surge in the water made the shallows very challenging with a severe buffeting on the rocks a frequent occurrence but it was worth it to get this little fellow, the littlest lettuce leaf slug I've seen to date. It's so fluffy!


The octopus were a bit scarce tonight but the shrimp did put in an appearance for us along with the usual plethora of flamingo tongue cowries.



The top of the wall did yield some nice finds such as some monstrous lobsters out for a scuttle but a bit pointless trying for something that big with a macro lens on. If there's a demand for shots of a lobsters eye, then let me know and I'll be happy to oblige!

There was also a nice example of a juvenile red banded hermit as well but trying to get him to sit still for a shot was a challenge and a half, they can shift when they want to!


One thing that doesn't shift though is one of my favourite little critters, the sailfin blenny although this one was a little shy this evening, I just couldn't coax him out.


But a lovely fringeback nudi more than made up for the lack of enthusiasm by the blenny fraternity as this little fellow was crawling it's way over the hardpan, probably off down the pub for a black and tan and some pork scratchings........


Monday, 18 November 2013

Breathe

Lots of things to see and do, lots and lots for me and you. And such was the way of things when we jumped in a few days ago to see what could be seen including some lovely big shoals of sweepers, tangs, grunts and snappers.


Towards the end of the dive we also had some unexpected visitors in the shape of some caribbean reef and some nurse sharks who were happy to circle around and check us out.


I must admit though the second dive was the most exciting for me as you know I like my macro stuff and I found a beautiful little gaudy clown crab nestled away in some sponge on the hard pan in two metres of water right at the start of the dive, bonus!

It's so tiny!!
Not to mention the obligatory smattering of gobies and blennies popping out to say hello for the camera.



No hot squid action for the camera on this dive though but you can't have everything I suppose. There was a lovely little juvenile file fish hidden amongst the sponges however so that was a nice little find and he was more than happy to sit there and get some pictures taken of him.


There was also this nice little juvenile orange saddled blenny who was practically see through on the coral. I had to look twice to make sure he was there. Blink and you'll miss him.

The original invisible fish
And of course to round everything off on this particular dive, it wouldn't be right unless we finished up with the obligatory flamingo tongue cowrie and christmas tree worm. After all there's only 36 shopping days left till christmas...........





Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Hot Stuff

Well if you haven't picked up this months edition of "What's Hot", then shame on you. With the fast approaching annual International Underwater Film Festival, myself and Sean from O.F are in print and doing our bit to help promote the upcoming festivities presented by CITA and Divers Alert Network. There's still just enough time to get your tickets if you hurry! See you there........


Sunday, 10 November 2013

Along the Blue Highway

Been taking it easy the last couple of weeks in preparation for the up coming photo and film festival on the island next week, but we're back in the water and back to business as usual as we hit our favourite Lighthouse Point early this morning.

With very little current and some decent viz on the main wall we had lots to see and do and were instantly surrounded by our old friends the snappers with some angelfish, jacks and triggerfish in tow.

Low flying snappers love the camera......



We changed it up a little this morning and headed South down the wall for a change and saw some very beautiful and colourful barrel and rope sponges in the depths just teeming with life.

Different snapper this time. They get everywhere.........
We even had nice couple of turtles giving us the royal wave as the sculled past as well. Bit too far off in the distance for a perfect shot but was still nice of them to show up for us.

Slow fly-by from one of the resident turtles
One thing I definitely wanted to do was try and get a shot of the banded jaw at the 6 metre mooring line as it's had it's gob full of eggs the last few time I've seen it. I got a shot of it, but guess what? No eggs. Damn you jawfish, how dare you toy with my frail emotions like that!! Ah, well.

No eggs today, thanks, just 2 pints of gold top
However I did score the jackpot with a mature squid who was more than happy to follow me around for well over half an our. It loved the camera! Every position I needed it to be in, it would pose for me. Much better than any of my other underwater models! :-P

"That's it.......more"

"Make love to the camera....that's right"
"You love it, you filthy little squid, yes you do......."
And I got some lovely video footage of it as well for an added bonus below.

video

If you don't have java embedded in your browser, you can check out the video: HERE

It was nice to have some quality time one of the more unique guests at the dive site.

Last but by no means least as we headed back into shore was a lovely little saddled blenny hiding out amongst the anemone. It pays to have a close look as you never know what you may find..........

Peek-a-boo, I see you.........